St. Kentigern School TFS Planting Day—6 June 2013
On Thursday June 6, 63 students from St. Kentigern School along with the school principal, teachers, parents, members of the Auckland City Sunrise Rotary Club and Auckland Council staff visited CUE Haven for a fantastic day of tree planting, waicare and nature exploration. In total 94 volunteers were on site for the day.
The St. Kentigern School planting day has become a highlight of the CUE Haven planting season. In August 2008, science teacher, Denise Coleman, and her Year 6 students helped kick off the CUE Haven restoration project by planting almost 500 trees. Every year since then, Denise has brought out a group of enthusiastic Year 6 students who together have planted over 2500 trees at CUE Haven.
In May, we visited St. Kentigern’s to pick up the plants that the boys had cultivated in their nursery. Some of the students helped us load up the truck.
On the morning of the planting day, Shelley Hackett from Auckland Council’s Trees for Survival Programme came out before 8.30 a.m. to set up and to lay out the plants. We had selected a flat area next to the boundary with our neighbour.
Incidentally, the dense grove of trees in the middle of the picture are the very first trees which were planted at CUE Haven in 2008 by the Year 6 students from St Kentigern School. The trees which were about 30 cm when planted are now almost 3 metres high!
The plan for the day was to break the group into three teams. Each would do a different activity and then the groups would rotate so that each group had a chance to do each activity.
One group would go to the planting site, another group would join Rachel Griffiths and Sophie Barclay from Auckland Council’s WaiCare programme to learn about water quality issues and to conduct field testing and observations. The third group would do a field trip with Auckland Council’s Education for Sustainability Advisor, Sarah Sheeran, to learn about observing nature and what to look for on a nature walk.
The aim of these activities was to provide the students with a more holistic understanding of how the tree planting fits into the overall objectives of the restoration project by improving water quality and creating a habitat for increasing biodiversity in nature.
The St Kentigern School group arrived just after ten to a perfect sunny day and assembled for morning tea and a brief talk introducing them to the CUE Haven Restoration project.
Each year, the St. Kentigern students have presented us with a Springfire Pohutakawa tree which is planted by the cottage in a row designated the St Kentigern School Pohutakawa Grove. St. Kentigern principal, Peter Cassie, gave a short talk and helped the boys plant this year’s tree.
The groups then split up. Shelley gave each planting team a safety briefing and a short talk about the types of trees we are planting and also demonstrated planting techniques.
There was a lot of dead grass covering the soil and that made for some challenges but the teams had a lot of energy and managed to plant over 400 trees in just a couple of hours!
There were also lots of worms, skinks and spiders to discover!
For the WaiCare presentation, Rachel and Sophie gave a short talk about the importance of water quality and about how historical farming practices can impact water quality. They took samples from the streams and ponds and discussed issues such as runoff, chemical balance and sediment and demonstrated the test procedures used to determine water quality.
They also took samples of pond life and explained the different types of creatures that can be found in fresh water ponds and gave the students a chance to see how many creatures they could find and identify.
Sarah’s nature exploration sessions started in the nursery where she gave a short talk about native vegetation and the importance of native forests. She gave each student a powerful magnifying glass and they inspected the plants in the nursery.
They then went on a short walk in the revegetating bush where Sarah pointed out interesting features and explained what to look for and how to listen.
They assembled on the bridge over the stream and had a listen to the sounds around them.
Sarah also demonstrated how to imitate the call of the fantail and sure enough, each group managed to attract a few curious fantails.
Once each of the teams had participated in each of the activities, the group returned to the cottage for lunch and snacks.
We want to thank Nestle New Zealand for providing Peach Nestea, Nescafe and treats for everyone.
It was another successful and enjoyable St. Kentigern School visit to CUE Haven.
We want to thank Auckland Council for their continued support. The addition of WaiCare and environmental sustainability learning sessions to the usual TFS planting days is consistent with our vision of turning CUE Haven into a place of learning and appreciation and enjoyment of nature. Our many thanks to Shelly for her hard work managing the planting activities, to Rachel and Sophie for the WaiCare sessions and Sarah for her fun and educational treks and demonstrations.
Thanks to Andrew, Cheu, David, Duncan and Stephen of the Auckland City Sunshine Rotary Club who came along and helped out for the day.
We especially want to thank St Kentigern School staff – Peter Cassie, Denise Coleman, Barry Kemp, Kurt Dorset and Mary Jones for their fantastic support of the TFS program and CUE Haven.
And last but not least, a big thank you to all the parents and students who came out and made a major contribution to the CUE Haven restoration project. We truly appreciate your hard work and we hope you will come back to see your trees and the progress on the project in the coming years.